First she has gifted us with enough hand-me down toys to save a birthday and a Christmas or two. Remember that terrifying bounce house this Christmas? It has become such a big hit that I think I may have to put it away for a while just to keep the kids from bouncing all the intelligence from their brains. (It has been a true sanity saver for mom though.) She has lent me books and audio programs on parenting, offered countless hours of judgement-free listening and honest, life saving advice (no seriously, she has saved at least one child from being sent off to boarding school and just last month she put things into perspective in such a way that I forgot my plans to lock them in a closet somewhere in Siberia, or down the street, whichever is colder.....) and most recently she has helped save my marriage.
What? What did that say? Did that say there was a monster at the end of this book? Well kiss my grits! Pull out the wine 'cause here come those skeletons! (No, not really.)
Well, ever so often in the life of some married people, this funny thing happens (that no one seems to talk about). They start wondering what the heck they are doing, putting up with this other person, their flaws, foibles and all. And then this avalanche of negativity begins, leading to a lonely pit of resentment and despair until one day they wake up (after having been up four different times with four different kids the night before so obviously they are now perfectly rational and thinking totally straight) and they think, something's gotta give. And usually, once they are done with the finger pointing, it means looking in the mirror and realizing that the change needs to start with self and that grace needs to take it from there, stretching its sticky little fingers out to every nook and cranny of the relationship and on out to the entire family until nothing is left untouched, unloved, unforgiven. But sometimes, when that mirror is too harsh and everything seems a little fuzzy and grace seems too far off in the distance, it takes a friend to offer a reality check.
So one day, after a long conversation on my recent personal struggle to stay happily married, Deb handed me this video series called the Us Factor. Totally cheaper than therapy and much more humorous watching TV couples go through the arguing and miscommunication that most marriages experience from time to time. It took over a month for us to forgo a night of TV comedy and get started on the thing (and even then it was a last resort, a "gee, we are all out of shows tonight, I suppose we should watch some of this") but I'm glad we did. It is so much more fun to laugh at
Ok, so maybe maturity is one place for me personally to start but seriously, there is nothing that makes you feel more at ease with your own issues than listening to the same issues in others. And laughing. Because the truth is, we all have them, some people just hide them better than others. (And apparently some people are far better actors than others, too!)
Thank God for grace. And for Deb. (I'd offer to give out her number but nothing in the Good Book says I have to share this particular savior with anyone! Plus, I take too much of her time for her to save the rest of you! Oh, and she has a real job too so really, she just wouldn't be able to fit you in. Sorry. It's not you. It's her...)